Alex may head north to Texas or Louisiana

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 6:36 PM GMT on June 27, 2010

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Tropical Depression Alex has held together fairly well during its passage over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and stands poised to re-intensify back into a tropical storm once it emerges from the coast tonight. Alex brought heavy rains to northern Honduras, Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, and Belize over the weekend. It was not a good beach day in Cozumel yesterday, as 9.25" of rain fell. Cancun received 2.05" over the weekend, and Belize City received 4.57". Satellite loops show that Alex's heavy thunderstorms are mostly gone near the center, though there are some impressive bands of precipitation well away from the center. There is an upper-level high pressure system a few hundred miles west of Alex, and the clockwise flow air around this high is bringing upper-level winds out of the northwest of about 5 knots over the storm, contributing to the 5 knots of wind shear observed in this afternoon's wind shear analysis from the University of Wisconsin's CIMSS group. Sea Surface Temperatures are very warm, 29 - 30°C, and dry air is currently not a problem for Alex.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Alex.

Forecast for Alex: which model should you trust?
While the track forecast for Alex today through Monday is fairly well-assured, the longer range forecast has become highly uncertain. An increasing number of our reliable models are now indicating Alex may take a more northerly track beginning on Tuesday, with possible landfall on the Texas coast near Galveston on Friday (according to the 8am run of the GFS model) or into western Louisiana on Wednesday (the 8am run of the Canadian model.) The key question remains how Alex will react to the trough of low pressure expected to swing down over the Eastern U.S. on Monday and Tuesday. Most of the models were predicting that the trough would not be strong enough to swing Alex to the north, and several of them continue to predict this. The 8am runs of the NOGAPS and ECMWF models, for example, take Alex into the Gulf coast of Mexico 150 miles south of Texas, on Wednesday. The GFDL and HWRF models split the difference, with the GFDL predicting a Thursday landfall in southern Texas near Brownsville, and the HWRF predicting a Thursday landfall near Corpus Christi. Morris Bender of the GFDL group has just provided me the track forecast from an improved experimental version of the GFDL that shows landfall between Corpus Christi and Galveston. So which model should you trust? Last year, the best performing models at the 3 - 4 day forecast range were the GFS and the Canadian, and these are the models that are currently calling for the more northerly track towards the upper Texas coast and Louisiana. Residents of those areas should review their hurricane preparedness plans and anticipate that Alex could make landfall as early as Wednesday in their vicinity. Residents of the Mexican coast south of Brownsville should make similar plans, as Alex could just as easily hit there.

Re-intensification of Alex is likely once the center of Alex moves offshore, though this will initially be slow due to the current disorganized state of the storm and the relatively low total ocean heat content in the 100-mile-wide stretch of water on the west side of the Yucatan Peninsula. Once Alex moves more than 100 miles from the Yucatan, total heat content of the ocean increases substantially, and Alex will have the opportunity to intensify significantly. A longer time spent over water will give Alex more of a chance to strengthen, and it is possible Alex could intensify into a major hurricane if landfall is delayed until Thursday or Friday. However, Alex's intensification may be limited the farther north it gets, as water vapor satellite images show plenty of dry air over Texas that might interfere with development. Wind shear might also be an issue for Alex if it pushes far enough north, and a slow-moving storm tends to pull up cold water from the depths, limiting intensification. In short, Alex has the potential to intensify into a major hurricane, but there are plenty of roadblocks that make this only a 10% probability in my estimation.


Figure 2. Skill of computer model forecasts for Atlantic named storms during 2009. OFCL=Official NHC forecast; GFS=Global Forecast System model; GFDL=Geophysical Fluid Dynamic Laboratory model; HWRF=Hurricane Weather Research Forecasting model; NOGAPS=Navy Operational Global Prediction System model; UKMET+United Kingdom Met Office model; ECMWF=European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting model; CMC=Canadian GEM model; TVCN=one of the consensus models that lends together all (or most) of the above models; BAMM=Beta and Advection Model (Medium Layer.) Image credit: National Hurricane Center 2009 verification report.

Elsewhere in the tropics
A tropical wave (Invest 94L) a few hundred miles north of the northernmost Lesser Antilles Islands has been pretty much torn apart, and is no longer a threat to develop.

Next post
Wunderground's severe weather expert Dr. Rob Carver will likely be posting an update on Alex late tonight. My next update will be Monday by 10am EDT.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Weather456:
Very robust and large circulation entering the GOM

If you notice that Alex jogged NNW on the last few frames. This occurs because of convection that built over the GOM in the NW quadrant, which storms tend to follow (right leading edge of convection)



So glad to see you back blogging 456. Hope your 100% better!!

Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Exactly. IMO, Alex will likely regain it's tropical storm status at 11PM. But first Recon has to find the winds that suggest that.

Agreed!
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1240
Quoting Levi32:
They have yet to hit the center.



Nice visual of Alex there. Does look like he will have no problem strengthening when he gets away from land. Sigh. ;)
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1485. Levi32
Quoting Makoto1:


Would that mean the SFMR was rain-contaminated or is it not heavy enough to be invalid?
Quoting tropicfreak:


Have they found TS force winds yet??


They may have found TS-force winds because the quality control flag was not on for the 40-kt SFMR reading, meaning that they consider it to be accurate despite the light rain that was falling.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
Am I to understand that the MX Government will not allow our hh to fly over land for some reason. Yet they rely on our weather service for hurricane recon. Or am I overreacting?
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Quoting alaina1085:

Although the winds dont prove that pressure now, we all know what happens after a pressure drop... the winds will catch up. I think Alex has a few suprises up his sleeve.
Exactly. IMO, Alex will likely regain it's tropical storm status at 11PM. But first Recon has to find the winds that suggest that.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Very robust and large circulation entering the GOM

If you notice that Alex jogged NNW on the last few frames. This occurs because of convection that built over the GOM in the NW quadrant, which storms tend to follow (right leading edge of convection)

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Quoting Levi32:
They have yet to hit the center.



Have they found TS force winds yet??
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
5PM NHC center fix: 19.2°N 90.9°W

997.6mb pressure reading: 19.4˚N 91.0˚W.

Hurricane hunters very close to the center now.

Although the winds dont prove that pressure now, we all know what happens after a pressure drop... the winds will catch up. I think Alex has a few suprises up his sleeve.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1240
1476. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
822

UZNT13 KNHC 272301

XXAA 77234 99226 70898 08129 99005 26822 ///// 00045 26420 10031

92731 22629 11538 85466 19436 11532 70116 11036 13518 50586 03107

12016 40760 12936 12017 88999 77999

31313 09608 82242

61616 AF304 0401A ALEX OB 04

62626 SPL 2259N08986W 2251 LST WND 017 MBL WND 11034 AEV 20801 DL

M WND 12024 003393 WL150 10533 089 REL 2256N08980W 224245 SPG 226

0N08985W 225156 =

XXBB 77238 99226 70898 08129 00005 26822 11850 19436 22628 06835

33493 03711 44434 09110 55393 14142

21212 00005 ///// 11003 10036 22001 10030 33994 10534 44975 11032

55928 11539 66850 11532 77716 11521 88696 14019 99629 15518 11541

10516 22515 13019 33486 11017 44466 12517 55434 10514 66393 12018

31313 09608 82242

61616 AF304 0401A ALEX OB 04

62626 SPL 2259N08986W 2251 LST WND 017 MBL WND 11034 AEV 20801 DL

M WND 12024 003393 WL150 10533 089 REL 2256N08980W 224245 SPG 226

0N08985W 225156 =

;


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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
No. LOL, 997.6mb.


WAs about to say, why isn't alex stronger, lol thats ok.
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37.1 knots (~ 42.6 mph)
Tropical Storm
Recorded by the SFMR

If that's correct and the pressure is 997 mb.. I don't believe Alex ever lost Tropical Storm strength over its trek.
Member Since: July 8, 2005 Posts: 259 Comments: 23570
1472. CJC111
P.S. the shear size of Alex does not bode well for pushing the oil
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Im at 95 longitude if he's at 91-92 no way in hell he's coming to visit me, have to get sucked northward for days and I cant see that happening
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5PM NHC center fix: 19.2°N 90.9°W

997.6mb pressure reading: 19.4˚N 91.0˚W.

Hurricane hunters very close to the center now.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
1468. Makoto1
Quoting Levi32:
40kt flight-level winds and SFMR readings were measured within the spiral rain band to the north of Alex's center.


Would that mean the SFMR was rain-contaminated or is it not heavy enough to be invalid?
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Quoting Tazmanian:
has any one noted this site is being a little bugey today
Yes! I've been kicked off quite a few times and had to re-boot. But I've got an old computer... so not surprised.
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1466. Levi32
They have yet to hit the center.

Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
the strong it gets the more N its gos
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114720
Evening all!
Been gone all weekend so havent been blogging. Yesterday I was farily certain this would be a mexico event, and now.... not so sure. I think Texas is going to take the brunt of this one. We dont want it here in SELA.
Member Since: August 2, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1240
1462. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
hot tower outbreak
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1461. CJC111
I had hoped this thing would break up a little more over land. Stronger storm = further north = oil for everyone with beach front property. Is that basically correct?
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1460. aquak9
ok, it was a typo. 997 and still going.
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1459. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
01L/TS/A
MARK
19.6N/91.9W
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Quoting Levi32:


997...was a typo my bad.



oh lol
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114720
1457. Levi32
40kt flight-level winds and SFMR readings were measured within the spiral rain band to the north of Alex's center.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
1455. xcool
up to 40
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15620
Convection refiring in a ring around the COC. Alex is starting to come back.
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1453. Levi32
Quoting Tazmanian:



977???


997...was a typo my bad.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
Quoting Tazmanian:



977???
No. LOL, 997.6mb.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting Levi32:
977.6mb....no wind shift yet.

000
URNT15 KNHC 272333
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 18 20100627
232400 2019N 09059W 9248 00674 9989 +217 +142 085040 041 026 000 00
232430 2018N 09100W 9248 00673 9988 +222 +143 086038 038 027 000 00
232500 2016N 09101W 9249 00673 9987 +220 +144 084039 039 026 000 00
232530 2015N 09102W 9244 00677 9987 +220 +145 086038 039 026 000 03
232600 2013N 09103W 9254 00666 9986 +218 +145 086038 038 026 000 00
232630 2011N 09103W 9248 00672 9987 +213 +146 085038 039 027 001 00
232700 2010N 09104W 9250 00667 9987 +210 +146 085038 038 026 001 00
232730 2008N 09105W 9249 00668 9987 +208 +146 083037 037 026 001 00
232800 2007N 09105W 9252 00666 9986 +205 +146 081037 037 025 003 00
232830 2005N 09106W 9249 00667 9985 +206 +144 082036 037 029 003 00
232900 2003N 09107W 9250 00664 9987 +196 +143 078035 036 031 013 00
232930 2002N 09107W 9255 00660 9988 +186 +140 075038 041 040 015 00
233000 2000N 09108W 9244 00667 9986 +186 +134 067035 038 041 016 03
233030 1958N 09108W 9253 00659 9985 +196 +129 070033 037 027 004 03
233100 1957N 09109W 9247 00665 9982 +204 +125 085032 032 025 001 00
233130 1955N 09109W 9245 00664 9980 +205 +125 084029 031 027 000 00
233200 1954N 09109W 9248 00662 9978 +207 +126 084028 029 026 001 00
233230 1952N 09109W 9250 00658 9977 +207 +129 083028 029 024 002 00
233300 1950N 09109W 9245 00662 9977 +202 +131 071030 031 026 003 00
233330 1949N 09109W 9262 00646 9976 +208 +133 077028 030 024 002 00
$$



977???
Member Since: May 21, 2006 Posts: 5091 Comments: 114720
Anyone confirm this info ?

BP is evacuating rigs in the gulf they just said on TWC...Also said, Landfall anywhere from Houston south
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Pressure reading of 997.6mb.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Quoting belizeit:
I only got 20mph gust as i was south of the center
We were NE and E so we got higher winds but less than 2" of rain but we really needed that.
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1446. xcool



more north
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15620
We have some flooding but the rain fell mostly on flat land so the water runs of slower minimizing flooding
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1444. Levi32
997.6mb....no wind shift yet. That means they haven't hit the center yet and the pressure could still be lower.

000
URNT15 KNHC 272333
AF304 0401A ALEX HDOB 18 20100627
232400 2019N 09059W 9248 00674 9989 217 142 085040 041 026 000 00
232430 2018N 09100W 9248 00673 9988 222 143 086038 038 027 000 00
232500 2016N 09101W 9249 00673 9987 220 144 084039 039 026 000 00
232530 2015N 09102W 9244 00677 9987 220 145 086038 039 026 000 03
232600 2013N 09103W 9254 00666 9986 218 145 086038 038 026 000 00
232630 2011N 09103W 9248 00672 9987 213 146 085038 039 027 001 00
232700 2010N 09104W 9250 00667 9987 210 146 085038 038 026 001 00
232730 2008N 09105W 9249 00668 9987 208 146 083037 037 026 001 00
232800 2007N 09105W 9252 00666 9986 205 146 081037 037 025 003 00
232830 2005N 09106W 9249 00667 9985 206 144 082036 037 029 003 00
232900 2003N 09107W 9250 00664 9987 196 143 078035 036 031 013 00
232930 2002N 09107W 9255 00660 9988 186 140 075038 041 040 015 00
233000 2000N 09108W 9244 00667 9986 186 134 067035 038 041 016 03
233030 1958N 09108W 9253 00659 9985 196 129 070033 037 027 004 03
233100 1957N 09109W 9247 00665 9982 204 125 085032 032 025 001 00
233130 1955N 09109W 9245 00664 9980 205 125 084029 031 027 000 00
233200 1954N 09109W 9248 00662 9978 207 126 084028 029 026 001 00
233230 1952N 09109W 9250 00658 9977 207 129 083028 029 024 002 00
233300 1950N 09109W 9245 00662 9977 202 131 071030 031 026 003 00
233330 1949N 09109W 9262 00646 9976 208 133 077028 030 024 002 00
$$
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
1443. jpsb
Quoting RecordSeason:
Look at the structure of this thing! Incredible.

Incredible Low Clouds Earth Scan Labs

Low level circulation remains huge and intact across an amazing area.

Continuous feeder bands with at least low level clouds remain as far north as about 87N, and as far south as the EPAC and southwestern and south-central Caribbean.
Appears elongated on a ne axis, does that mean anything?
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1442. Levi32
Quoting ElConando:



You are certainly right his circulation is super tight.


It's very broad right now around the center, but could easily tighten up with a pressure that low.
Member Since: November 24, 2005 Posts: 635 Comments: 26547
Quoting RitaEvac:
Until I see a significant jump to the north in lattitude and sustained Im not worrying about this thing
LOL, I'm with you. I'm in Mobile so I'm just laid back watching the drama and waiting for the next one.
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Quoting ElConando:



You are certainly right his circulation is super tight.
No, his circulation is broad. You can tell because of the way the pressures are.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
1439. aquak9
levi or ANYONE

keep the recon data coming PLEASE
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18Z GFDL


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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.